|Garden rose, June 2015|
We have a problem with our plumbing at Lola Towers. Mr A told me last week that the hot water had stopped running, but then it started again. We put it down to polystyrene balls - a very long time ago, one set of incompetent plumbers allowed polystyrene balls to get into the water system. On reflection, we haven't had any trouble for quite a while, so when the hot water failed again when I got back from my weekend away, I sought the advice of a friend who had that very weekend suffered something similar. Following his advice we ventured up into the loft, where the header tank for the hot water turned out to be empty. That was Sunday night, and I wasn't about to call for an emergency plumber seeing as the cold water was running fine and it was an intermittent fault - by Monday morning the tank had filled again.
I am an organised person, and I have many lists that remind me of things that need to be done. I find it impossible, however, to manage to simultaneously do the things on the list that I find difficult; I can just about manage them one at a time - partly because of the difficulty, but also because I have very little time to myself at work due to multiple patients and full clinics and delivering training off-site, and because there is no mobile phone signal in my office. To make a mobile phone call I have to leave the building and stand outside the door, and then it's difficult to write things down, and I can't refer to my online diary because the computer's inside, and if there's no answer I can't leave my number for them to call back because there's no signal when I go back into my office...
So I try to achieve one difficult task a day, and there are many tasks waiting. On Monday it was a call to a solicitor, and today I managed to call the plumber. (There is also the problem of when to arrange for him to visit, as Mr A and I are both working full time at the moment). Tomorrow I need to call the accommodation we have booked for New Year, on Thursday I need to send a letter of mild complaint to the accommodation I stayed in on Saturday night (Lola II is helping to draft it), and you would not believe how dirty the shower is. And there's that huge pile of paperwork that needs sorting out or else my car will not have a parking permit in August, among other slightly less urgent issues.
Then on Thursday there's the second week of our current carb counting course, so I have to cook some carbs for them to count. That means baking a potato and cooking measured amounts of pasta and rice on Wednesday evening to take to work on Thursday. This is a) to demonstrate the change in weight of raw vs cooked food (rice and pasta increase in weight, baked potato decreases in weight but carbs are unchanged for both) and b) to encourage the participants to weigh/measure these hard-to-estimate starchy carbohydrate foods, so that they will know for example how many carbs are in a standard tray of takeaway rice.
And of course I want to keep up the running, and my elbow is pretty much better so I'd like to go back to badminton, and there's the clarinet choir which is staging a concert in a couple of weeks. And I need to buy a new car, and new trainers, and waste paper baskets, and a bedside lamp, and put the charcoal picture that I drew at Mr M's birthday event into a frame, and re-pot and rejuvenate my house plants, and now the 15-foot rose bush and the enormous wisteria need pruning. I've used weedkiller on the patio weeds, but they need to be cleared, and all the rubbish littering the garden taken to the dump. My email inbox is bulging with messages that aren't important enough to be dealt with straight away but not unimportant enough to be deleted, and I am well behind on reading my blog subscriptions.
At work I have a similar number of issues. I was determined with this change of career that I would try and avoid the frustration of being unable to change the world by keeping my head down and letting the world sort itself out. It turns out that I can't seem to do that. Before I went away to America, I wrote a very apologetic note to my manager, detailing three pages of projects that I have taken on but are being thwarted by various barriers: procedural, technical and human.
I want to have a Internet-enabled data projector in our education room. I want to create a website to support our very low carb lifestyle group. I want to be able to show web content to our patients that is blocked by the Trust, including social media and videos. I want to support a new 'transition' clinic for young people moving from the paediatric to the adult diabetes service. I want to be able to offer patients the option of very low calorie 'diabetes reversal' diets that include meal replacement products. All of these need someone else to do something or agree to something, but instead of getting these things that I want, I have been asked to cover an extra clinic in the community on a Tuesday afternoon, and - the horror! - three half-days of ante-natal clinic over the summer (one of my colleagues has left and there is a gap before her replacement starts). And I have stupidly followed up a very good idea from one of my colleagues which needs me to do even more organising and coordinating.
I appreciate that these are problems that some people would be happy to have in place of the real and serious problems that they are having to deal with, but we all would like an easy life, wouldn't we?